Skip to main content

Dragnet the 50's radio show

Audio Preview

Dragnet the 50's radio show

Old Time Radio Programs. Detective series. 298 episodes of Dragnet.


Reviewer: Aquilla - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 9, 2017
Subject: Great!
Watched Dragnet on television, black and white to the color episodes. Love Jack Webb and his no nonsense police work. Couldn't stand his moralizing but that's my opinion.
The only comment I really have is the supervisor. Is that Raymond Burr? Didn't know he had a role on the radio show.
I am binge listening to the shows and loving every minute of them.
Reviewer: X-ray John - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 25, 2016
Subject: Very important historical interrupted show
If you listen to Episode 182, April 19, 1953, The Big Rip, also listed as episode 200 overall, you will here an announcer interrupting the show at 13 minutes 41 seconds, to say that he had additional names of sick and wounded US GI's that were being released by the North Koreans. If there was ever an emotional moment that even topped this great radio show, this was it.

Corporal Vernon C. Warren of St. Louis Missouri
Roy M. Jones of Minneapolis, Minnesota
PFC David Ludlum of Fort Wayne, Indiana
PFC Roy Medina of New York City

They were being released to Freedom City.
Reviewer: RoyaltyB - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 15, 2016
Subject: Better than watching the Dragnet from TV
Very realistic and definitely entertaining!
Reviewer: cactustrain - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 21, 2016
Subject: Duplicate episodes
Is it me, or are episodes 76 and 78 the same? Excellent series.
Reviewer: Paige42986 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 14, 2016
Subject: I am a huge dragnet fan
I just have to say a big thank you for having this archive as a fan it makes me so happy to have these to listen to!
Reviewer: Dave UK - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 9, 2016
Subject: Dragnet Radio
Great to have so many episodes, to listen to every day, instead of only once a week, as was the case when the show was first recorded.
I never heard them in the UK when they first came out, but remember the TV shows.
I like to listen to one episode every night before going to sleep and don't know what I'm going to do when they run out. Maybe start from the beginning again!
The shows are well produced and convincing, especially because they use real events.
Reviewer: donnie 56 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 25, 2015
Subject: Thank You!!!
I Must say that as a Dragnet fan I am absolutely delighted to be able to listen to these radio actuallyepisodes!!! Im only 56 years old so ive never watched radio before!! I would like very much to thank those who made listening to Dragnet like this possible. Thank you for all your time and effort and the great pleasures you have provided us!
Reviewer: darose16 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 16, 2015
Subject: GREATEST era for Radio
Most kids when they grow up they dream about "when I grow up I'm gonna be a ....". The only job I EVER wanted to do was Radio. I volunteered for the US Army and enjoyed most of my time. When I got out at the ripe old age of 21 (don't know if they still offer it but in the late 70's you'd sign on for 6 years and would do 3 active & 3 inactive. I never lost my desire for radio & lied my way into my very first gig. My 1st PD, Program Director, knew I hadn't been in the business long (I lied that I had experience) & kept preaching TOMA to me. Top Of the Mind Awareness and said it was something they used to preach during the Golden, and Greatest, era of Radio. Even as a kid I LOVED going to the library and listening to cassette tapes of radio shows from the 40's & 50's, so I understood what he was talking about. It didn't mean I would GET how to use TOMA right away but it was the best piece of advice I ever received about the business so I made sure I always used it when I was hiring people! It would have been GREAT to have had an opportunity to appear on these great shows but I have no regrets about the way things played out for me! Regardless, all of these GREAT shows were a part of the GREATEST ERA IN RADIO!!
Reviewer: WALLEY131 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 12, 2015
Subject: good show
good show for radio i like tv better with jack webb and harry morgan
Reviewer: lovebug2725 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 24, 2015
Subject: lovebug2725
I love this show! Thanks for posting!
Reviewer: toby jug - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 2, 2015
Subject: A modern ear does not appreciate Radio Drama
I have said on other reviews that comparing any classic radio show with a "Modern Day " radio or TV version is wrong.
You need to put yourself in the shoes of a listener in the days when the programme was first aired taking into account that TV was still in its infancy and in some cases a poor second too the way Radio gave drama to the listener.
Radio uses "Sound" to convey urgency, fear suspense etc..and in the golden age they did it so well, what other medium can show the sinister mystery of "The Shadow" just by letting the voice be in a whisper........
Reviewer: Merlin1961 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 1, 2015
Subject: Excellent nostalgia!
thank you for uploading these classic episodes. Please ignore the nay-sayers in this thread; as they always tell everyone else who does not like their style of entertainment, "just turn it off". It's time they heeded their own advice. Jack Webb did a fantastic job making this program. On his death, Chief Daryl Gates announced that badge number 714, which was used by Joe Friday in Dragnet, would be retired. Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley ordered all flags lowered to half-staff in Webb's honor for a day, and Webb was buried with a replica LAPD badge bearing the rank of sergeant and the number 714. Not bad for an actor.
Reviewer: Vivia - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 8, 2015
Subject: Another Ingrate
joj91, what have you voluntarily busted your butt to provide perfect strangers lately? Please go whine someplace else: your observations are not helpful in any way, and they make you sound like a moron.
Five stars, of course, for Dragnet and its talented crew. volunteers rock. Don't let the subspecies Homo Sap that occasionally wanders in here get you down.
Reviewer: hipyoungmom - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 25, 2015
Subject: Easy listening
I love this show! It's not too over the top (sound-wise), and it's very easy to just listen while at the office or doing chores around the house. I love listening to Jack Webb, and I remember watching reruns of this on Nick at Nite with my dad when I was younger. I am obsessed in general with old time radio dramas!
Reviewer: joj91 - favorite - April 19, 2015
Subject: Sound of Footsteps
Jack Webb must have had some kind of fetish about the sound of footsteps because they are EVERYWHERE on his "Dragnet" radio show, and VERY LOUD!

It's bad enough having to listen to that very badly played theme song all the time (also loud, and apparently never played the same way twice, which also seemed very unprofessional).

And then those mindless commercials telling us how wonderfully safe these certain cigarettes were, I even think it was cigarettes that killed Jack Webb at a very young age (though he always sounded like an old man, even in the beginning).

But I can understand, if you're going to listen to old-time radio you have to take what came with it, and back then that's what they did.

I know it's been said he was all about authenticity, if it took 22 steps from one room to another he would use exactly 22 steps on his recordings. It still kind of sounds obsessive but at least I can understand his reasoning.

But what I don't get is, every single episode would start out with this series of loud (and phony-sounding) footsteps walking or running somewhere.

They sounded like they were trying to mimic the sound of cheap dress shoes detectives might have worn back then, though they also sound too slippery to handle many of times they were involved in chasing crooks, mostly on hard waxed surfaces, they would have fallen on their faces.

So what you get on the radio is this constant loud clomping of mens shoes drowning out all the dialog and other sound effects for the show, and to be honest, as listeners, we don't really care.

Yes, there should be some indication that people were walking or running when necessary, but it should not ever be the dominant sound effect on this or any other radio or television show.

The stories have their own problems but are tolerable, apparently Jack Webb was a massive control freak and it shows in every minute of his shows, for good or for bad, but in the case of the footstep sounds, after a few episodes it literally becomes unbearable and ruins the show, you just can't listen any more.

I don't like this old-time radio web site re-design, it's very had to use or find or download anything. Every time I download a simple zip file it says "invalid file," and it's almost impossible to download individual episodes anymore. did this a few years ago and to this day it's a fairly useless web site because it's so difficult to use or find what you're looking for. So you go to a better web site like TV by the Numbers.
Reviewer: graceasher - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 29, 2014
Subject: Smiles :)
I wish I could thank the person who uploaded these in person. I am a retired Police Officer of 12 years and I got hurt pretty bad over a year ago arresting a man on meth. I'm home almost every single day of my life awaiting surgery. I have become depressed and can't sleep at night. I now lay in the dark and listen to these Dragnet episodes and feel relaxed and at peace while I am listening. They are so nostalgic and it's amazing to me how much some things haven't changed. These shows really help to cheer me up. Thank you to the person who took their time to do this. You never know who's life you might touch incidentally. I appreciate this. God bless.
Reviewer: oldmusicfreak - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 8, 2013
Subject: Dragnet
These show are the best of OTR. I remember hearing them when I was a kid, and they havent lost any of their punch over the years. The earlier ones were the best, 1949-50 but even after Ben Romero died the shows were still great, tho the format was slightly different. I dont watch TV much, its mostly crap anymore instead I listen to these old shows, its much better entertainment.
Reviewer: Harry Wilson - - August 9, 2013
Subject: Hello, Aquilla
If you go to the top of this page and click the link under 'Keywords' that says 'Dragnet', it will open two pages of links. Look for the one titled 'Dragnet - Single Episodes - Old Time Radio Researchers Group'. This page has pretty well every extant episode, in very good quality. Alternatively, just go to this link:

If you want to download the shows in CD-sized zip files, about 400Mb to 700Mb, look for the link that reads 'Dragnet - Old Time Radio Researchers Group', or just go to this page:

A bonus of downloading the OTRR zip files is that you will also get many features such as pictures, advertising, related shows, and much more, usually on CD1. The first CD zip of the Dragnet series has quite a bit of interesting material.

The pages from the OTRR, Old Time Radio Researchers, always have very good quality files, and are as complete as you are likely to find. If there's a show that you're interested in, a page provided by the OTRR is almost always the best place to start.

Hope this helped, and nice to meet a fellow Dragnet fan. If you're a die-hard Jack Webb fan, check out his book on police work, 'The Badge', first published in 1958 and still in print at a very good price.
Reviewer: ken2ca - - October 30, 2012
From the 1950s and these are public domain? Isn't at least the music still under copyright? What about the scripts? I understand the actual performances and recording might be without copyright if it wasn't renewed, but what about the other elements?
Reviewer: powers91474 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 19, 2012
Subject: love my dragnet!!!
i wish they made them like this, everyone one these shows is pure entertainment i found my very first episode five years ago when i stumbled upon them on itunes iphone and after searching the net for more i found the treasure that is INTERNET ARCHIVE!!! lets all support this site with a monthly gift of any amount so they can continue to bring us these wonderful shows from days past...just as pbs offers us unfettered access to quility tv this site gives us what is the best that writers and actors and directors had in the golden age of radio i can say since those first days of listening i find my self more relaxed and in a better state of mind say than after watching some silly tv show i think it was a different time when most of these shows were made and i believe as the quility of what we put in our minds went down with the so did the moral fabric of our souls ... dont believe me instead of watching those disgusting shows at night turn on one of dragnets episodes or a whistler or phillip marlow and sit back with the lights low and just relax with the tone of the words i swear its better than zanax for stress anyway thanks INTERNET ARCHIVE youve givin me many a peaceful evening and my mind lost in the age of old time radio
Reviewer: Dario Witer - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 20, 2012
Subject: Classic Police Drama
Of all the crime dramas that ever appeared on radio, none can beat the intencity and suspence of DRAGNET. It's no-nonsense approach to presenting the dry, but realistic daily routines of police work, plus the stark drama of fighting criminals, made this series an all-time classic, both on radio, and later on, television. DRAGNET continues to be an all-time classic, and, is the drama that set the standard of all police dramas that followed it, have tried to emulate. None have been able to do so since.
Reviewer: mnpd - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 29, 2011
Subject: How times have changed!.....
I'm a retired metropolitan police commander, and knew the business had changed. I just didn't realize how much until I listened to an episode of radio Dragnet.

Friday hauls in an entire load of bar customers because they might have seen a shooting. Then, an overnight "dragnet" produces over 200 more suspects who are promptly taken downtown for interrogation.

Effective yes... but Friday wouldn't last a week on today's police departments. You can't take anyone "in for questioning." And, there are no suspects anymore either. Well, there are suspects, but you can't do a thing about it unless you have enough evidence to arrest them. The only people the cops take in these days are those which have been arrested for an articulable crime, and evidence exists to prosecute them.

Yep, after the first week, Friday would have at least a dozen Title 42/Section 1983 lawsuits pending on him. Worse, his department would side with the plaintiffs by claiming that they told him NOT to conduct himself in that manner. So, Friday would find himself working in the Tow-in-Lot or answering the phones down in Warrants until the Department figured out a way to get rid of him.

Joe Friday is incapable of understanding the change in times. In his day his job as a cop was to catch criminals. Today, a cop's first priority is to not get sued. Forget the criminals, because no cop agency ever got sued for NOT catching a criminal. No one sues you for being lazy, and being lazy pays just as much as being vigilant.

But never fear because Joe Friday types don't even apply for the job anymore. The business has been changed for so long that even the applicants have evolved. Before I retired, I couldn't believe the numbers of one-year rookies with the attitudes of 20-year veterans. You couldn't get them to work on-time, or devote their time on-duty to catching crooks. They were just as likely to be found reading the newspaper in some remote alley as their gray-haired co-workers.
Reviewer: Back To The 80s - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 9, 2011
Subject: Awesome Series
Dragnet is no doubt in the top 5 all time classic OTR series of all time. I absolutely love this series!
Reviewer: mally-one - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 18, 2010
Subject: Who Knew?
Who knew good detective work was powered by "Fatima Brand" cigarettes?
Reviewer: Trekbikefan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 2, 2010
Subject: Thoughtful and engaging
I remember watching old re-runs of the Dragnet 1967 TV show with my dad when I was a kid, then recently I watched a few episodes from the original 1950's TV series after finding some cheaply produced DVD versions of a few of them. Then I found these old radio programs on the internet recently. I must say that these are as good as, if not better than, either of the TV series (although the cigarette advertisements are somewhat laughable today). I enjoy listening to these while riding my bicycle or mowing the lawn, they definitely help to pass the time. The action sequences are a bit hard to follow (with canned gunfire soundbytes interspersed with the protagonists' talking to each other, leaving what is actually happening a little ambiguous until the end.) but this is forgivable, since they comprise only a minute portion of the programs.

The dry documentary style of the shows is what sets them apart from most police dramas, both past and present. I actually enjoy the fact that an episode will devote a 2 minute sequence to SGT Friday waiting on hold for an operator to transfer his call, or another similar sequence to SGT Friday and Romero talking to each other from the inside of a car trunk where they are awaiting some unsuspecting criminals...this adds to the realism of the shows...a lot of police work is pretty boring stuff; as the son of a cop myself, I realize this very well. Indeed, most of us will admit, even those of us with the most exciting jobs will have a large part of our day that is fairly mundane. The Dragnet shows capture the mundane aspects of life that most dramatizations miss.

I think that these shows are a throwback to a different era; although many have criticized our ancestors (and rightly, at times) for such wrongs as racism and ethnocentrism, listening to these shows has shown me the better side of 1940's and 50's U.S. society. The episodes show a keen awareness of the darker side of life (tackling such crimes as pedophilia, pornography production and distribution, serial killings, and cop shootings), yet they deal with these topics in a sensitive and tasteful way that stands in sharp contradistinction to the tasteless dramatizations that one often sees of such crimes on TV today. Criminals and lowlifes are not glorified with quasi-voyeuristic depictions and descriptions of their vile work, as is so often the case today in law enforcement television programs. I think I have learned a lot about 1950's America just by listening to these episodes, because you pick up on the little subtleties that you're not necessarily going to find in a history book (and the subtleties are just as much in what the characters do say as in what they don't say...there were certain things you just didn't talk about back then, because there were rules of polite behavior that were a bit more conservative, and possibly superior in many ways, to what we have now).

The show also makes vague occasional references to the social stigmas associated with being a police officer (One can hear the resigned frustration in the voice of SGT Friday, when, at the end of one program, he simply reflects back at her a lady's accusation: "You're right; I wouldn't understand...I'm a cop).
Reviewer: bippy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 27, 2010
Subject: Well done series, esp. the ones with Sgt Romero
The first few seasons of Dragnet were the best with Romero as Friday's partner. The best show I heard was the chilling 'Claude Jimmerson Child Killer', where the cops meet in the house of a neighbor of a missing child to organize a search party and it turns out it's the killer's house, as Sgt Friday somewhat embarrassed, realizes he missed some clues right under his own nose.
Reviewer: Rayme - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 20, 2010
Subject: Love the old days and this show
I remember as a boy my grandma got me into talk radio, then thru osmosis, I found an L.A. radio station that would play old time radio at 2 am. I remember the time cause I played in a Rock band at the time and what no one in the audience knew was that I couldn't wait for the show to be over cause it was about a 45 min drive home and I would turn on the old time radio show and think of my grandma. That was the early 90s. Growing up I watched the tv version of dragnet and liked it and now that I"m in my 40s, to find all the episodes of it here if a gift. It was a better time, simpler, more innocent and I wish alot that I grew up back then in the 40s and 50s. Nowdays noone has the morals or honesty of back then. To whoever made and maintains this site...thank you so much and Grandma...I miss you, thank you for sharing your love of radio with me, it never left.
Reviewer: feekie - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 3, 2009
Subject: Love the Early Shows Best!
I love the early Dragnet shows the best. Ed Backstrand's intensity and Joe Friday's partner, Romero, made the early shows really fun to listen to. I liked the later shows too and the tv shows, but the early ones are really classics.
Reviewer: ohsnapiam56 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 19, 2009
Subject: A Great Time Capsule
I love these episodes. Not only are they high class entertainment, but they are a window to the past...people were more trusting, more polite. Men wore hats and took them off when talking to a woman; woman wore dresses and heels; people dressed up to go to the movies, etc. The drudgery of police work then was computers, no cell phones (I have an old phone from this time period and my niece and nephew asked me how to use it recently)....all leg work. Listening to these stories is way better than the junk they have on TV now.
Reviewer: LeGrande - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 27, 2008
Subject: Timely topics even for today ...
buildings under bomb threats, teenage and adult drug use, pedophiles, sexual abuse ... it seems like things weren't all that different in the late 40s and 50s than it is today. While the machine-gun patter is a comedy cliche today (think about the Mathnet parodies on CTW's Square One TV show), it did allow the show to squeeze in a lot of dialogue and action in a short period of time. Dragnet is one of OTR's best series, and should be included in any collection.
Reviewer: - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 21, 2008
Subject: More more more
I'm downloading the rest of them for my Sansa. I really enjoy breaking up a day with a couple episodes of Old Time Radio. They are easier to follow than a book when multitasking (though it takes more concentration than music) and I can lose myself for a short while. Anyone with a portable player should set up a folder with some Radio and try it out. Home listening would be fine of course, but what a great way to kill time when on the go.
Reviewer: 2muchtv - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 9, 2008
Subject: Great radio show, scary commercials
In hindsight it's somewhat difficult to appreciate just how creative, risk-taking and innovative this remarkable radio show really was. The visionary recipe started by bringing together the institutional documentary style of programs like the Westinghouse "Adventures in Research" with the character dimensions and musical score of a radio soap opera. Webb then mixed in gritty elements considered inappropriate at the time, interviewing 'dance hall girls' and having characters say things like "Do you mind if I eat while we talk?"

Targeting the voracious crime-drama appetite of post war America and served with a heaping helping of Roosevelt-era social engineering, Webb used mass media to disseminate cautionary tales to encourage good behavior among the masses. Rendered a cliché by the longevity borne by its overwhelming success, Dragnet is a fascinating study of rapid character development; plot pacing and exploiting the time worn adage that truth really is stranger than fiction.

Oh goodness! Those Fatima (Pronounced fa-tee'-ma) cigarette commercials. Using lessons from WWII propaganda, interrogation techniques and the new science of the psychology of consumer behavior, Liggett & Myers (L&M) Tobacco Company tried to resuscitate an aging brand from the late 19th century using radio. According to Wikipedia, "Fatima was the sole sponsor of the early years of the Dragnet radio series. The creator and star of Dragnet, Jack Webb, voiced a number of on-air pitches for the brand and appeared in print advertising as well. There was also a short-lived mystery anthology series called Tales of Fatima, hosted by Basil Rathbone. The brand's old-fashioned image caused it to lose market share from the mid-1950s onward, and L&M eventually phased it out by around 1980."
Reviewer: Framan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 8, 2008
Subject: Double thumbs up
I agree with everybody else's comments... this collection is top shelf stuff.
Reviewer: jeffzkrazie - - November 16, 2007
Subject: Greatness
I am in OTR heaven when I am on this page no doubt, Dragnet is my favorite OTR show of all time!!!!! Thanks for whomever uploaded these!!!!!
Reviewer: foggymtbutt - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 8, 2007
Subject: Yes!
What the previous reviewer said, I would like to echo.
Reviewer: Eklectic1 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 5, 2007
Subject: Old Time Radio
Very well done dramatic episodes, tight writing. I thought Jack Webb was a ham (based on watching Dragnet 1967, 1968, and so on; I was a 60s kid), and then I got curious about these episodes on the radio. They are great, and a real eye-opener! We've become so cynical, it's refreshing (and amazing) to think that just a few years before I was born, people had ideals of a much higher kind. People weren't better, mind you; they just had much higher expectations of how to behave. We were much more socially connected, and in the fragmented society of Los Angeles in the early 50s, you can see the fraying edges of what was to come. Listen, learn, and enjoy. A true cold lemonade to the thirsty, time-traveling mind.
Reviewer: SkipLVC - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 11, 2007
Subject: Classic Stuff
This is classic old time radio. The attention to detail and the accuracy in presentation is wonderful. The show is full of great radio actors that transitioned well to TV. Effective commercials that make you want to start smoking.
Uplevel BACK
In Collection
Old Time Radio
In Collection
Radio Programs
Uploaded by
Lum Edwards
on 3/11/2007
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
by Vic Sage
eye 909
favorite 0
comment 0
Old Time Radio
eye 3,591
favorite 2
comment 0
Old Time Radio
by Old Time Radio Researchers Group
eye 60,069
favorite 39
comment 10
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 10 reviews )
Old Time Radio
by Old Time Radio Researchers Group
eye 561,973
favorite 114
comment 8
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 8 reviews )
Classic TV
by MoviesRme
eye 583
favorite 0
comment 0
Old Time Radio
eye 1,055
favorite 0
comment 0
Old Time Radio
eye 1,829
favorite 1
comment 2
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
eye 142
favorite 0
comment 0
Old Time Radio
eye 3,898
favorite 4
comment 3
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 3 reviews )
Old Time Radio
eye 98,622
favorite 38
comment 7
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 7 reviews )